On September 9, 2015 a group of volunteers left ECCA office towards Barabisee, Sindupalchwok, for a one day trip. One of the vehicles was loaded with around 30 piles of copies, solar tukis, six boxes of stationery and sports materials that were to be distributed to the six schools of that area. After a 100km ride through magnificent natural beauty, we finally reached to Barabisee. On the way, we had to cross the remainings of a big landslide that burried a whole village one year ago.
A group of teachers of the benefiting schools came to welcome us and to take the materials that were donated by HANDS through ECCA to their schools. Among the six schools Bhatte Primary School received solar tukis for students and staffs for being able to complete the construction of their TLC. We distributed the materials to all the schools and afterwards visited a very special school: Sindhu Bahira Lower Secondary School, dedicated to differently abled persons, especifically deaf. There are 46 students from 13 different districts of Nepal who all stay in the school’s hostel facilites. These 46 students don’t want to add ‘DIS’ to their abilities. “They have a disability, yes that’s true, but all that this really means is they may have to take a slightly different path than you and rest of us. No one is equally able; in their case they are differently abled.” says Maina Karki, principle of the school.
Maina Karki who has been running the school for five years now, says there are seven teaching staffs in the school, among which four are differently abled and three have taken the training to teach these students. But visiting a deaf school doesn’t mean visiting a silent place: Some students know actually how to speak and anyway there’s is chatting in sign language going on all around. When I asked the principle how that comes she introduced me to other three teachers who could speak but not hear. They lost their hearing ability as they grew up.
Like on every other place where children are around, they were very curious to meet us and find out what we were doing at their place like when reading the sign for the TLC we had brought with us. Somewhere in their eyes they were saying no to the disability, they were demanding the society to see them all equally. In that air I felt the vibes, I felt a determination and I read in those eyes: We, the ones who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has and will continue to bloom. To be seen not only as handicapped, but as an interacting human being
I don’t know if we could do anything but they did they gave us so much energy, they taught us life isn’t easy, it’s you who makes it easier or hard. After visiting the new TLC, constructed with ECCA’s support, Maina mam lead us to the old school through rice fields and a waterfall. The former school building is located on the bank of Bhote Koshi, but now ruined and labeled unsafe by the government after the earthquake. The school was in a beautiful location and a merciful condition. While we were observing the ruined school and hostel, Maina mam told us how happy she is that none of the students got injured in the earthquakes. We sat down for a while, took pictures of the ruined school building and went back crossing the suspension bridge nearby. We bid our bye to Maina mam and left for Kathmandu. Sitting in the car and looking out of the window I was just thinking about that school more about the students. They helped me realized that they weren’t deaf it was us who were deaf to hear them; they have always spoken their silent words.
Written by Roshan Khadka
No disability or dictionary out there is capable of clearly defining who we are as a person. It’s only when we step out of that labeled box, that our abilities begin to be fully recognized, giving us a better definition of who we truly are as individuals – Robert M. Hensel